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Royal Dutch/Shell narrows search for media agency

[london] Royal Dutch/Shell Group has narrowed its search for a media agency to handle its global media business worth approximately $150 million, according to executives close to the review. It is believed that both media buying and planning are up for grabs. The list of competing agencies was pared down from six undisclosed semifinalists to three finalists. In the U.S., the incumbent media shop is WPP Group's MindShare. It was not determined at press time if MindShare made the cut.

Fox sets Bowl asking price: $2.4 million to $2.5 million

[new york] News Corp.'s Fox, which will air Super Bowl XXXVI on Jan. 27, 2002, from New Orleans, is floating an initial high price of $2.4 million to $2.5 million for a 30-second spot, according to ad executives. But because of the sinking economy, few advertising executives take this price seriously. This high price would be equivalent to Viacom's CBS' initial starting price for last year's event. Though CBS made some pricey early deals, it wound up with deals averaging around $2 million.

Diageo narrows U.S. media buying review

[new york] Diageo's estimated $150 million consolidated U.S. media buying and planning review for its spirits and beer brands has been narrowed to two agencies: Grey Global Group's MediaCom and Tempus' CIA Medianetwork. Dropped from the contest: WPP Group's MindShare, and Bcom3 Group's MediaVest Worldwide.

Executive-level shake-ups at TN Media

[new york] John Lazarus, senior VP-executive director of national broadcast at TN Media, New York, is leaving the Interpublic Group of Cos. unit, according to people familiar with the matter. Also, Larry Blasius, senior VP-director of national broadcast at TN, will take a top job at Interpublic's newly created media buying group, Magna Global USA, where he will work with chairman Bill Cella. In a third shake-up, Howard Nass, senior VP-executive director of local broadcast, will also depart TN. The moves come as Interpublic plans to fold TN Media into Initiative. A TN spokeswoman referred calls to Initiative, which didn't respond.

Powerade gets Gravity Games, new ad push

[atlanta] Coca-Cola Co.'s Powerade sports drink agreed to become primary beverage sponsor for the Gravity Games, replacing PepsiCo's Mountain Dew, which fled to ESPN's rival X Games. The Games, a co-production between Emap USA and General Electric Co.'s NBC Sports, will be held Sept. 1-9. and aired starting Sept. 19. The Powerade deal is valued between $1 million and $2.5 million, Emap USA President Kevin O'Malley said. Separately, Coca-Cola on Aug. 14 unveils an estimated $40 million to $60 million effort to promote a reformulated, vitamin-infused Powerade and a reduced-calorie Powerade Light with a campaign from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.

Arizona pulls anti-smoking account decision

[phoenix] The Arizona Department of Health Services, responding to protests from two Phoenix advertising agencies, Aug. 9 withdrew its decision to award its $10 million to $15 million advertising and public relations account against tobacco use to a local agency. The account, previously handled by Riester-Robb, was recently awarded to E.B. Lane Marketing Communications, both Phoenix. But the incumbent and another finalist, Moses-Anshell, also Phoenix, filed protests with the state questioning the bid process. The state will resolicit bids.

Gruner & Jahr shuffles top management

[new york] In the week following the sudden defection of its Business Information Group CEO David Carey back to his original perch as publisher of Conde Nast Publications' New Yorker, Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing shuffled its top management. Cindy Spengler, former VP-publisher of Hearst Magazines' House Beautiful and senior adviser to G&J, was named chief marketing officer. In addition, broadened planning and product licensing responsibilities were announced for top G&J executives including Dan Rubin, now senior VP-business development and strategic planning. Peg Farrell, publisher of Family Circle, was promoted to senior VP, and Chief Financial Officer Andreas Dietrich was given broadened responsibilities in anticipation of G&J's parent company Bertelsmann AG going public in the next few years. CEO Dan Brewster also informed staffers he would be replacing Mr. Carey.


In an additional step in its parent company's organizational restructuring, Interpublic's Bozell, Minneapolis, office cut 12 employees and moved four accounts to new sibling Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis. ... PepsiCo, through its Pepsi-Lipton Tea Partnership, today breaks a limited campaign from WPP's J. Walter Thompson, New York, for Matika, its juice-tea fusion beverage. ... Omnicom Group's BBDO West, San Francisco and Los Angeles, said it has resigned the Northrop Grumman $3 million to $4 million account because it is one of three finalists in the Boeing review. ... Pharmacia Corp. and Pfizer, the co-marketers of Celebrex, are conducting a review for the global professional advertising account for the blockbuster arthritis drug, a Pharmacia spokeswoman confirmed. The review, valued at $40 million to $50 million, follows the recent shift of the direct-to-consumer account to J. Walter Thompson, New York. ... Levi Strauss & Co. is extending the network prime-time run of its "Belly Button" spot from Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day, San Francisco, for low rise women's jeans, one of its most successful TV spots in recent years. Joining the talking belly buttons starting this week is a primarily cable and print effort, "Talent Show," featuring non-actors showing off their break dancing and other skills. ... Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings for the quarter ending June 30 posted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization-EBITDA-of $3.5 million, down from $32.4 million the year previous. Revenue dropped to $78.9 million from $125.6 million. Ad pages declined 47.5%. The company also said it had begun initiatives that would reduce its work force by 23%.

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